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Woman In The Eye Of The Storm

The Perfect Storm rolls into theaters across the U.S. this weekend. The film is based on the true story of a fishing boat called the Andrea Gail, which went down in 1991 with six men during a monstrous storm off the coast of Newfoundland.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio plays the role of Linda Greenlaw, 39, a swordfish boat captain who managed to guide her vessel back to safety during the same storm. The real Linda Greenlaw recently wrote a book about her life called The Hungry Ocean.

What did she think of the movie?

"I thought it was fabulous. Very exciting," she said. "I think Warner Brothers is setting a new standard for special effects. I was terrified, and I have been fishing for 20 years."

Added Greenlaw, "Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney are great. But they were upstaged by Warner Brothers' Mother Nature."

No swordfish were used in the movie, and Greenlaw was also impressed with how real the fake fish looked on screen.

Greenlaw was happy to be portrayed in the movie by Mastrantonio. But, she added, "When I heard that George Clooney was playing the lead, I offered to play myself several times."

She is one of the few women who are involved in the fisherman's work.

"I started when I was 19 years old," she recalled. "I went to the Grand Banks for the first time as a cook and deckhand aboard a swordfishing boat. It was a summer job to help pay my way through college. I literally fished my way through school."

How did she survive the storm that is portrayed in the movie? What was it like being in the middle of all of that?

"It's very hard to describe. It's absolutely miserable," she replied. "If you go to see the movie, you will know exactly how it feels. There's a line from The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald: 'Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn minutes to hours?' It sums it up, just how it feels."

As a female captain, Greenlaw said she never runs into trouble with the men who work for her.

"Anybody that can't work for a woman for 30 days would never ask me for a job, I guess," she said. "I am in charge of the paycheck. That keeps everybody in line."

In the real-life "perfect storm," Greenlaw lost six friends. Was it difficult to see that portrayed on the big screen?

"I thought it might be," said Greenlaw. "I really saw the film as a celebration of a way of life, of people who choose to go to sea. These guys died almost 10 years ago. In a way, they've achieved immortality. As long as the book and movie are around, their memories will never be lost."

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